Spinal cord is (not) a bus [BINAC 01]

Spinal cord is (not) a bus [BINAC 01]


Welcome to brain is not a computer I am Memming, I’m Kathleen, and we’re here to demystify the brain. How do the human body
and the modern computer relay messages between different components? In the body the brain uses the spinal cord
to talk to remote body parts and the computer uses buses to communicate with peripheral devices though the spinal
cord and the bus both serve as information highways, the spinal cord is
not a bus a computer bus is a pathway which transmits information from one
computer component to another For example, a bus enables the CPU, the brain of the computer, to communicate with the memory. Other buses such as the USB which stands for Universal Serial Bus enable communication with input/output devices
such as a keyboard, a mouse, or even a robotic arm Each message sent through a
bus is sent as zeros and ones while some bits of the message contain the source
and destination addresses, other bits encode the data to be transmitted. Does the human body work the same way? The spinal cord transmits information
between the brain and the rest of the body. Is it a bus? The spinal cord is
actually a bundle of nerve fibers with cell bodies located in the center, the
gray matter, and axons located in the surrounding white matter. Information
moves along many different tracks in the spinal cord. Some tracks called ascending
tracts carry sensory information like touch and pain from the body up to the
brain. Other tracks called descending tracts deliver motor commands from the
brain down to the rest of the body. These tracks include specific
communication lines dedicated to individual destinations in the body. For
example information from their fingers and your toes are kept separate and
travels through different fibers in the spinal cord to different parts of your
sensory cortex. This differs from modern computer architecture where a single bus
can transmit information to different destinations specified by different
addresses. For this reason there are only a few wires in a computer bus, while there are billions of fibers in the spinal cord. So the brain is like the computer but very different. THE END

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